Friday, December 16, 2016

Saint December 17 : St. John of Matha : Founder

St. John of Matha

June 23, 1160, Faucon in Provence
December 17, 1213, Rome
John of Matha was born in the Year 1160 at Faucon in Provence on the Feast of St. John Baptist. His parents, who were considerable both for their virtue and rank in the world, took a particular care to give him a religious education. His childhood was full of manly virtues; his modesty, sweetness, prudence, and innocence engaged the affections of all that knew him. He made his first studies at Aix the Capital of Provence, and there learned fencing, riding, and other genteel exercises. But none of those gay amusements broke in upon his virtues. What money his parents allowed him for his pocket was distributed amongst the poor; and at an age which usually abounds with levity, and a false niceness proceeding from pride, and want of compassion, he visited the hospitals once a week, and took a singular pleasure in binding up and cleansing the wounds of the patients. Thus he spent his first years, in acquiring such learning as was suitable to his age, and practising those virtues which make the brightest part of the character of a Saint.
At his return from Aix he retired to a little hermitage near Faucon; but finding he could not enjoy the solitude he longed for so near his relations, to whose conversation he was exposed, he got leave of his parents to study Divinity at Paris. His capacity and application distinguished him in that learned University, where he passed all his degrees with applause. Here he was ordained Priest, and said his first Mass in the Bishop's Chapel, where he was honoured with the presence of the Maurice Bishop of Sully, the Abbots of St. Victor and St. Genevieve, and the Rector of the University. But this was an inconsiderable favour in comparison of another that he received at that time. For it was then that God opened to him his particular vocation, and while employed in offering the Price of our Redemption, gave him the first thoughts of employing his time and care for the relief of Christians oppressed with slavery. But he thought himself obliged to consult the will of God in silence, and prepared himself for the execution of so great and glorious a design by prayer, and penance.
While our saint was considering on a place proper for those pious employments, he remembered he had heard of Felix of Valois, that lived in a Wood near Gandelu in the Diocese of Meaux, and was famous for sanctity and penance. Persuaded that holy hermit would be a proper master for him, he begged to be received into his Hermitage, and favoured with his instructions. Felix entertained him, according to his desire, and looked upon him as one sent by Divine Providence for his benefit and improvement. Here they lived in the constant practice of such Virtues as are to be expected from those that live for heaven only. Fasting and other austerities were their whole business; prayer, and contemplation their ordinary employment; and their conversation always tended to excite one another to the love of God. After some time thus spent together, John communicated to Felix the pious design he had conceived at his first Mass; and enlarged upon the necessity and advantage of such an undertaking. He did this in so moving and strong a manner, that Felix was persuaded the proposal came from God; and offered to join him in the execution of it. They entered into the particulars of this great work, and finding it attended with many difficulties, prepared themselves for it by three days strict fast and continual prayer; and then set out for Rome in order to consult the Pope about the matter. They began their journey in the dead of winter 1197, and reached the City in January following. Innocent the III was then just raised to the Holy See. Upon reading their letters of recommendation from the Bishop of Paris, and the Abbot of St. Victors received them like two angels sent from heaven, and gave them an appartment in his own Palace. They had several audiences of his Holiness, in which they explained their whole design. The Pope called his Cardinals and some bishops together in St. John Lateran's, Church, laid the proposal before them, and desired the assistance of their advice in this important affair.
After this consultation, his Holiness ordered a fast, and some particular prayers to be offered up Feb. 8 upon this occasion; and having thus recommended the business to God, gave them leave to erect a New Order, which should be under the direction of the Saint, who was first favoured with the Design. The Bishop of Paris, and the Abbot of St. Victor were employed in drawing up the Rules, which the Pope approved of, with some few additions, by a Bull dated December 17, 1198. Those,that are admitted into this Order, are to wear a white habit, with a red and blue Cross on the breast; and devote a third part of their substance to the redemption of slaves. All their churches are to be dedicated to the Holy Trinity. This Order afterwards took the name of Mathurins, from an old Church dedicated to that Saint at Paris, and given to them about thirty Years afterward.
When things were thus settled, the two holy hermits returned to France, where Philip was then King. Upon their report of what had passed at Rome, his Majesty allowed them to set up their Order in his Kingdom; and contributed very largely toward the good work. After founding several houses in his own Country, he left the care of them to his companion in that pious undertaking, and went to Rome; where he obtained of the Pope a monastery for his Order on Mount Celius. His Holiness had wrote to Mirammolin, King of Morocco, the Year after this new Order was formed, desiring him to second the charitable designs of the Trinitarians, who would either pay the ransom of his Christian slaves, or give an equal number of his subjects that were detained in Italy, France, and Spain, in exchange for them. In Consequence of this application in the Year 1200, John sent two of his Religious in that Kingdom, on that errand. Their success was answerable to the purity of their intention, and they redeemed 186 Christians. The year following he went into Barbara and there purchased the Liberty of 110 Slaves. From thence he returned into his own Country, where he met with very considerable encouragement and assistance in his charitable designs. After that he went to Spain; where the large contributions of Princes and men of the first rank enabled him to build several Monasteries of his Order. About nine years after his first voyage to Barbary, he made a second to that country, and brought away 120 Captives.
The Fatigues of this last expedition, joined to his continual mortifications, quite disabled him and obliged him to spend the remainder of his days at Rome; while Felix employed all his concern and actions for advancing the Order in France. Our Saint being now incapable of pursuing his inclinations in his former way, found an employment proportioned to his strength, and spent the two last years of his life, in visiting the prisons, relieving the poor, assisting assisting the sick, and preaching. In these Exercises of charity he quite exhausted himself, and died on the 21st of December, in the Year 1213. He was buried in St. Thomas's Church at Rome and his festival fixed to this Day by Pope Innocent XI. in 1679. (The Lives of the Saints)

Official Novena for Christmas : Day 1 : #Novena #Plenary #Indulgence - SHARE

Opening Prayer:

V. O God, come to my assistance.

R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father and to
the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now
and ever shall be, world without


Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.


Day 1 Prayers

The Incarnation.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who descended from the bosom of the eternal Father into the womb of the Virgin Mary, where, conceived by the Holy Ghost, you took upon yourself, O Incarnate Word, the form of a servant for our salvation. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary full of Grace the Lord is with Thee blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

NOVENA PREPARATORY TO CHRISTMAS In order to the devout preparation of ourselves for the glorious Birthday of our most loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, which the holy Church recalls to our memory every year on the 25th of December, and at the same time to render Him thanks for this great benefit, Pope Pius VII., by a Rescript of the Segretaria of the Memorials, dated August 12th, 1815 (which said Rescript is preserved in the Segretaria of the Vicariate), granted to all faithful Christians who, being contrite in heart, should prepare themselves for that great solemnity by a novena, consisting of pious exercises, prayers, acts of virtue, &c. -
i. An indulgence of 300 days each day of the said novena, and -
ii. A plenary indulgence to be gained on Christmas day, or on some day in its octave, by those who, after Confession and Communion, shall have made the said novena every day, and who shall pray according to the intentions of the Sovereigns Pontiff: and note that the Confession and Communion may be made on  any one of the days of the said novena, provided the novena is correctly kept. This was declared by Pope Pius VIII., of holy memory, by means of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, July 9, 1830. These indulgences were extended by the above-named Pius VII. to one other time in the year, besides the the specified, when any one should make the aforesaid novena in honour of the Child Jesus.

Wow over 1000 create #Nativity for #Performance of 'Angels we have heard on High' with #PianoGuys - SHARE

"This Is The Best Christmas Song I Have Ever Heard. It Will Give You Chills." This according to the many listeners of The Piano Guys, YouTube VIRAL music video. It features Peter Hollens, and former American Idol star David Archuleta who joined more than 1,000 people to create the most beautiful performance of ‘Angels We Have Heard On High.’ This is spectacular - Please SHARE this Amazing production! 

#PopeFrancis "..., if our own Christian life has always opened the road to Jesus.." #Advent #Homily

(Vatican Radio) Christians should look to the “great” John the Baptist as a model of humble witness to Jesus, as one who denies himself, even to the point of death, in order to point out the coming of the Son of God. That was Pope Francis’ message, during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, to Bishops and religious celebrating the 50th anniversary of their ordination, and to married couples celebrating the 50th anniversary of their wedding vows.
John the Baptist, the witness who points to Christ
The Church’s liturgy turns once again, as it has in the past two days, to the figure of St John the Baptist, presented in the Gospel as the “witness.” His vocation, the Pope explained in his homily, is “to give witness to Jesus,” “to point out Jesus,” like a lamp with respect to the light:
A lamp that points out where the light is, that bears witness to the light. He was the voice. He said of himself: “I am the voice that cries out in the desert.” He was the voice but that bears witness to the Word, points out the Word, the Word of God, the Word. He was only the voice. The Word. He was the preacher of penitence who baptized, the Baptist, but he makes it clear, he says clearly: “After me comes another who is mightier than I, who is greater than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. And He will baptize you in fire and the Holy Spirit.”
The humility of John, his self-annihilation is a model for Christians
John, then, is the “place-holder who points out the definitive figure”; and the definitive figure is Jesus. This, the Pope said, “is his greatness,” which was demonstrated each time the people and the doctors of the law asked him whether or not he was the Messiah, and he clearly responded, “I am not he”:
And this provisional but certain, strong testimony; that torch that was not put out by the wind of vanity; that voice that was not diminished by the force of pride; always becomes one that indicates the other and opens the gate to the other testimony, that of the Father, that which Jesus speaks of today: “But I have a testimony greater than that of John: that of the Father. And John the Baptist opens the gate to this testimony.” And the voice of the Father is heard: “This is my Son.” It was for John to open this gate. And this John was great, always left aside.
John is humble, he “annihilates himself,” the Pope emphasized once again, he takes the same road that Jesus would take later, that “of emptying himself.” And it will be thus until the end: “in the darkness of a cell, in prison, beheaded because of the whim of a dancing girl, the envy of an adulteress, the weakness of a drunkard.” If we have to paint a portrait, Francis is of the mind that “this alone is how we must depict it.” This is an image that the Pope then offered to the faithful present, including religious and bishops celebrating their jubilees, and married couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries.
Christians by their lives should open the road to Jesus
It is a beautiful day to question ourselves about our own Christian life, if our own Christian life has always opened the road to Jesus, if our own life was full of this act: pointing out Jesus. Giving thanks for the many times that they did it, giving thanks and beginning anew, after the fiftieth anniversary, with this aged youth or this youthful age – like the good wine! – taking a step forward in order to continue to be witnesses of Jesus. May John, the great witness, help you in this new path that you are beginning today, after the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary, of priesthood, of consecrated life, and of matrimony.

    Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday December 16, 2016

    Friday of the Third Week in Advent
    Lectionary: 191

    Reading 1IS 56:1-3A, 6-8

    Thus says the LORD:
    Observe what is right, do what is just;
    for my salvation is about to come,
    my justice, about to be revealed.
    Blessed is the man who does this,
    the son of man who holds to it;
    Who keeps the sabbath free from profanation,
    and his hand from any evildoing.
    Let not the foreigner say,
    when he would join himself to the LORD,
    “The LORD will surely exclude me from his people.”

    The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
    ministering to him,
    Loving the name of the LORD,
    and becoming his servants–
    All who keep the sabbath free from profanation
    and hold to my covenant,
    Them I will bring to my holy mountain
    and make joyful in my house of prayer;
    Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
    will be acceptable on my altar,
    For my house shall be called
    a house of prayer for all peoples.
    Thus says the Lord GOD,
    who gathers the dispersed of Israel:
    Others will I gather to him
    besides those already gathered.

    Responsorial PsalmPS 67:2-3, 5, 7-8

    R. (4) O God, let all the nations praise you!
    May God have pity on us and bless us;
    may he let his face shine upon us.
    So may your way be known upon earth;
    among all nations, your salvation.
    R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
    May the nations be glad and exult
    because you rule the peoples in equity;
    the nations on the earth you guide.
    R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
    The earth has yielded its fruits;
    God, our God, has blessed us.
    May God bless us,
    and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
    R. O God, let all the nations praise you!


    R. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Come, Lord, bring us your peace
    that we may rejoice before you with a perfect heart.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

    GospelJN 5:33-36

    Jesus said to the Jews:
    “You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
    I do not accept testimony from a human being,
    but I say this so that you may be saved.
    John was a burning and shining lamp,
    and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
    But I have testimony greater than John’s.
    The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
    these works that I perform testify on my behalf
    that the Father has sent me.”